Presentation

The Pech Merle cave is situated close to the village of de Cabrerets, Lot county, France.

Cabrerets Lot 46Why is it called "Pech Merle" ?
In the lower third of France is a southern Latin culture called langue d'oc or occitan.
Pech is the French writing of the occitan word puèg which means : a hill. We pronounce as in "fresh". It appears in the name of many localities, written pech, puech, pioch, pey, and you can read it on the signs of the regionals roads. In old French, the good word is puy. For Merle, we know nothing. It could be an ancient Gaelic word or from an older language, which could mean : hill, high area.

Within ten kilometres around Pech Merle can be found a dozen other caves with wall paintings. They are not open to the public.

The upper network of the cave of Pech Merle has no signs of prehistoric use and has been known since the turn of the century.

The prehistoric galleries, in the lower network, were discovered in 1922 by André David and Henri Dutertre, when they were 16 Amédé Lemoziand 15 years old respectively. The examination of the paintings and engravings was immediately begun by Father Amédée Lemozi, the priest of Cabrerets.

The cave has been open to the public since 1926. It is classed as a 'historic monument' and is the property of the commune of Cabrerets which is responsible for its management.

The Pech Merle cave is a very large one. It is more than two kilometres long. The visitors can see about the third part of the galleries, seven large halls open the way to discover the exuberant and fabulous riches of subterranean sceneries.
"An art gallery in a palace of nature." (René Teyssédou)

Chevaux de Pech MerleIn order to verify that the organisation of the tours and the number of visitors are adequate as far as the safety of rock art is concerned the CNRS subterranean laboratory at Moulis in the Ariège region associated with the Géologie-Environnement-Conseil private office studies the underground environment of the Pech Merle cave.

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